Find your triggers
Next, find your triggers—those things that can send you into a tailspin—and learn how to handle them. For Bates-Winfield, it was baby clothes. For Fawcett, “I was a magnet for baby strollers,” she says now with a laugh. A stroller would accidentally bump into her, and she’d be reminded again that she didn’t yet have a child of her own.
“This is a time to take care of yourself,” says Davidson. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself emotionally balanced. If that means opting out of attending baby showers, going to children’s birthday parties, or visiting the hospital to see a new baby, give yourself permission to do so.
And don’t feel pressured to over-explain why you won’t be there, says Debra Condren, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of Ambition Is Not a Dirty Word (Broadway Books, 2008), a career guide for women. “Don’t apologize or beat yourself up for not going,” she says. Buy a gift online and have it sent to the hostess or the new parents.
If you do want to go, Davidson suggests driving yourself so you can leave whenever you want.
Another way to practice self-care is to stick with people who support you during this period of doubt, frustration, and envy.
Conversely, avoid anyone who volunteers unsolicited advice that feeds into your fears (such as sentences that begin with “If you would only just. . .”). Condren says it’s an empowering move. “By avoiding these people, you’re telling them they no longer have a backstage pass to your life.”
Remember your spouse
A third way to handle envy is to check in with your spouse. Chances are he’s also feeling disappointed and frustrated with each negative test result. “Don’t assume he’s fine,” says Condren. “Ask him how he’s feeling.”
Dr. Kavic agrees, adding that waiting for a pregnancy can be stressful on couples. She encourages pairs to spend more time together doing things they love, and to keep the doors of communication open. “If you want to talk about conceiving, you can, but you don’t have to,” she says. The idea is to enjoy each other, and to keep communicating.
Finally, women who are in that often frustrating waiting period between trying to conceive and being pregnant should explore their own ways to cope with negative emotions. Many women find it helpful to write their thoughts in a journal (see sidebar at right) or to keep an online blog. Others say that spending lots of time with family—including young nieces and nephews—can be comforting.
“You want to be able to look at the pregnant woman or new mom and wish her well,” says Condren. “But you also want to love and care for yourself.”
This story was originally published in the Fall 2010 issue of Conceive.
Aug 13, 2010
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